In 2010, the European Commission released its proposal for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy, or CFP, creating an opportunity to make European fisheries more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The Pew Charitable Trusts initiated the OCEAN2012 coalition and coordinated its efforts to advocate for strong and effective reforms that would end overfishing, restore fish stocks, reduce damage to ecosystems and rebuild an EU fishing sector that is environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
After years of negotiations, the three main EU institutions—the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission—reached an historic agreement on the key points of the CFP reform in May 2013, and on the corresponding subsidies regime, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, in January 2014. In particular, they agreed to:
- Recover fish stocks to sustainable levels.
- End overfishing by 2015 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest.
- Radically decrease bycatch and discards.
- Allocate more public funding to data collection, control and enforcement.
- Strengthen provisions to allow funding to be withheld from individual recipients and member states that fail to comply with the CFP rules.
EU member states are now required to use transparent criteria when allocating fishing opportunities, including analysis of the impact of the fishery on the environment, its compliance with the regulations, and its contribution to the local economy.